Negative Partisanship towards the Populist Radical Right in Western Europe

Research seminar

  • Date: May 12, 2021
  • Time: 14:00 - 15:30
  • Speaker: Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser
  • Professor of Political Science, Diego Portales University, Santiago de Chile
Negative Partisanship towards the Populist Radical Right in Western Europe
Democracy is under threat today, and scholars agree that the main challenge is not sudden regime breakdown but rather the gradual erosion of key institutions and norms because of growing public support to political forces with illiberal tendencies.

In the case of Western Europe, the major threat comes from the populist radical right. Although it is true that the latter has been gaining votes in Western Europe, scholars have not analysed the extent to which a sizeable share of the electorate dislikes this party family. Nevertheless, recent studies reveal that it is important to consider both those who feel close to and those who reject political parties, i.e. positive and negative partisanship. To address this research gap, in this presentation, Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser will show original survey data for 10 Western European countries to examine negative partisanship towards the populist radical right. The empirical analysis reveals that a large section of the Western European electorate has an aversion to this party family, and this finding should be seen as an important sign of democratic resilience. In fact, those who dislike the populist radical right are strong supporters of both democracy per se and the liberal democratic regime. At the same time, Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser​ will discuss some ideas about the future research agenda on negative partisanship towards the populist radical right in Western Europe and beyond.

Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser is a full professor at the School of Political Science of the Diego Portales University (UDP) in Santiago de Chile and an associate researcher at the Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (COES). He received his PhD in political science from the Humboldt-University of Berlin in 2008. His main area of research is comparative politics, with a special interest in the ambivalent relationship between populism and democracy. Before his current job, he worked as a research fellow at the University of Sussex, the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and the Human Development group of the Chilean Bureau of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


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